THE SHORT VERSION (written 10/14/2010)
I am a 39 year old woman who lives a healthy lifestyle. I eat good organic food, I get restful sleep, I walk regularly as a form of exercise, I care for my home and my two young children, and I own my own business. My husband grows a large edible garden and we raise chickens for their eggs. Between the two of us, we are practitioners of Chinese Energetic Medicine, Reiki, Ayurveda, Herbalism, Yoga, Meditation, and other forms of healthy living. We have an active family lifestyle and in July 2010 we were working with a real estate agent in Costa Rica where we were planning to buy property in a beach community. During a particularly stressful time in my life, and against all of my usual protocols, on July 29, 2010 I decided to take an antibiotic for a UTI and possible kidney infection. I took Cipro 500mg 2x per day for 6.5 days before I realized that my body wasn’t appreciating it. Three days after I discontinued use, I made another unusual and desperate decision, and took one dose of Advil for pain. Four hours later, my life was hanging on by a thread.
Over the course of the next week I would lose my ability to walk, my ability to drive, my ability to see, think, and communicate clearly, my ability to rationalize, my ability to care for my family and myself, and my ability to feel okay about ANYTHING. Over the course of the next couple of months my family would endure a living nightmare while my body and my mind degenerated before their eyes. I was physically, mentally, and emotionally incapacitated. These are some of the symptoms I have experienced to date: peripheral neuropathy, numbness, dizziness, convulsions, seeing things out of the corner of my eye that are not there, acute tendonapathy (in both ankles, both Achilles, both knees, right bicep, both shoulders, both wrists, neck, right hip, both thumbs and 8 fingers) torn rotator cuff, tremors, anxiety, fear, fright, nightmares, headaches, ringing in my ears, ear pain, confusion, depression, paranoia, hives, rash, irregular heart beat, irregular breathing, chills, fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, pain, burning, tingling, tremors, weakness, a brain spasm/squeeze (wait, did I already say that?), difficult speech, brain fog, blank spots in my thinking, creaking joints, popping sounds when I move, loss of smell, vibration throughout my body, persistent twitching, loss of words, momentary blindness, short term memory loss, inability to walk, fatigue, extreme sensitivity to light, sound and movement, nausea, inability to raise my arms above my head, inability to grasp things with my hands, terrible body odor, loss of appetite, muscular atrophy, loss of control over my bodily movements, weight gain, blurry vision, irregular eye movements, and among other things that my messed up brain can’t think of right now, a condition I can only describe as “the crazies”. None of the symptoms I mentioned have been mild. They have all been profound in their incapacitating, annoying, painful or frightening character.
Currently, I am still suffering from about a dozen of these items, but generally speaking I am more stable mentally and physically thanks to the use of “alternative” medicine. During this acute phase, I have experienced drastic improvements followed by slightly less drastic setbacks, but overall I’m slowly and sometimes quickly improving. My tendons are still acute, my right shoulder rotator cuff is torn and painful, I still have nerve damage, and I have no idea what my future holds, but I am alive and I am doing the best I can to keep my spirits up. One thing that helps is hearing about peoples success stories, so if you know any, please post them here on my website. We can all use a little direction, inspiration and hope.
I haven’t yet prepared A LONG VERSION of my story, but if you are interested, you can read my daily journal here. This is just my journal, its pretty boring and there are spots where I rant and rave, but it is all there. The spelling is bad, the grammar is bad, and the language is bad, but I can’t say I ever intended to share it. It is really just something I started the day after those first horrible symptoms because I was already experiencing horrible memory problems and I was afraid I would forget something important, or maybe I would end up in the hospital unable to communicate, so I figured a journal was a good idea. The journal started off as scraps of paper in a pile next to my bed, but one day I needed a project that did not include self reflection, so I transcribed it all into my husbands laptop. Since then, I have done my best to write something down everyday so I could track my progress. Maybe you can find something useful in there, or maybe reading through it will remind you that you are not alone.